Keep the following supplies in your car emergency kit. In fact, we always say to prepare your car as if it will break down, especially in wintertime!
Emergencies can happen to anyone. Whether you run out of fuel, puncture a tire, or slip off a snowy road, keep an car emergency kit to help you get back on the road safely and quickly.
In addition to the items listed below, a cellular phone is highly advised. Make sure your cell phone is charged every time you get in the car and keep a cell phone charger in your car.
Car Emergency Kit List
Keep the below items in a bag in your trunk. Ideally, we’d suggest a clear, plastic container so it’s easy to see everything. You can buy a pre-packaged kit or create your own.
- Flashlight, plus extra batteries
- Jumper cables
- First Aid Kit (band-aides, adhesive tape, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, antiseptic cream). See First-aid kit checklist.
- Bottled water
- Multi-tool (such as a Leatherman Tool or a Swiss Army Knife)
- Road flares or reflective warning triangles
- Small fire extinguisher (5-lb., Class B and Class C type) in case of a car fire
- Tire gauge to check inflation pressure in all four tires and the spare tire
- Jack and lug wrench to change a tire
- Gloves, rags, hand cleaner (such as baby wipes)
- Duct tape
- Foam tire sealant for minor tire punctures
- Rain poncho
- Nonperishable high-energy foods such as granola bars, raisins, and peanut butter
- Battery– or hand-crank–powered radio
- Spare change and cash
Additional items for winter driving:
For those in wintry areas, add the below items to your emergency kit. (If it’s balmy all winter where you live, be thankful that you don’t need all of this stuff!)
- Blankets, gloves, hats
- Ice scraper
- Collapsible or folding snow shovel
- A bag of sand to help with traction (or bag of kitty litter)
- Tire chains and tow strap
- Hand warmers
- Winter boots for longer trips
- Sleeping bag for longer trips
Winter Driving Tips for Car Safety
- Keep your gas tank filled above halfway avoid a gas line freeze-up.
- Make sure tires are properly inflated.
- Beware of black ice. Roads may look clear, but they may still be slippery.
- Stuck on the ice without sand or cat litter? In a pinch, you can take the mats out of your car, place them next to the tires, and slowly inch the car onto and across the mats.
- Make sure windows are defrosted and clear. And be sure to clear snow and ice from the top of the vehicle! Gently rub a small, moistened, cloth bag of iodized salt on the outside of your windshield to prevent the ice and snow from sticking.
- To restore proper windshield wiper blade action, smooth the rubber blades with fine sandpaper to remove any grit and pits.
- Fog-proof your mirrors and the inside of your windshields with shaving cream. Spray and wipe it off with paper towels.
- Avoid driving when you have the flu, which can reduce your reaction time almost six times as much as moderate alcohol intake.
See more cold-weather tips provided by AAA.
What do you have in your car emergency kit? Let us know in the comments. (Thank you to our readers who have made suggestions which we have added to the above list!)
Be sure to find out what to have in your home emergency supply kit, too!